Martin van Maële  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Martin van Maële (born as Maurice François Alfred Martin van Miële; October 12, 1863 — died September 5, 1926) was a French illustrator of early 20th century literature. He is renowned for his work in the field of erotic literature., ranging from absurd drawings and caricatures to the violent and disturbing He was born in the commune of Boulogne sur Seine, once an important industrial town, near Paris, France.

He used René Gockinga and A. Van Troizem as pseudonyms.


Biographical details

Martin van Maële's date of birth is uncertain. According to The Erotica Bibliophile, he was born on 12 October 1863 in the city of Boulogne-Billancourt, France, to Virginie Mathilde Jeanne Van Maele and Louis Alfred Martin; his real full name was Maurice François Alfred Martin. He was married to Marie Françoise Genet. They had no children. At the time of his death they lived in Chantilly (Oise), France. He died on 5 September 1926, and is buried in the cemetery of Varennes-Jarcy, France.

Artistic career

He was a student of Félicien Rops, the famous Belgian artist and engraver. Van Maële worked in shops in Paris and Brussels and published his work with Charles Carrington and Jean Fort (Collection des Orties Blanches).

Maële also illustrated works by mainstream authors H. G. Wells, and at least four Sherlock Holmes books published by Félix Juven.

Some of his work was published by Jules Chevrel.

Van Maele worked at Brussels as well as Paris, and his best known work – consisting among other things of an illustrated edition of Paul Verlaine's poems – was published in small, secretive editions by publisher Charles Carrington. The prints are considered both humoristic and satirical, sometimes cynical.

Van Maële's career is said to have really began with his illustrations for H.G. Wells in Les Premiers Hommes dans la Lune (or First Men On The Moon), published by Félix Juven in 1901. The title later became the classic 1902 sci-fi silent film called Le Voyage dans la lune, produced by Georges Méliès. Van Maële also illustrated Anatole France's Thais, published by Charles Carrington, also in 1901. The following year, and occasionally thereafter, Van Maële worked as an illustrator for the Felix Juven's French translations of the Sherlock Holmes series.

Martin van Maële died in 1926 while working on the drawings for Les Dialogues de Pietro Aretino by Pietro Aretino. The frontispiece and two of the engravings were made by Viset Luc Lafnet.

Maële's most famous work is the extremely rare "La Grande Danse Macabre des Vifs", published by Charles Carrington in 1908. It was limited to 100 copies (cover).


This is an incomplete list of Martin van Maële's flagellation novel illustrations:


  • The Satyrical Drawings Of Martin van Maële:

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